[Market-farming] garlic

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sun Nov 12 12:00:18 EST 2006

On Nov 11, 2006, at 1:17 PM, Paul St. John wrote:

> ok, its been raining about every 3-4 days thru Oct and
> Nov, I have not been able to put in the garlic due to
> the soil being saturated.  HOW LONG CAN I WAIT TO
> PLANT. Do any of you have suggestions. Zone 5,soils
> all ready cooled down to 40 F.

I wouldn't give up yet. I have gotten a decent crop from garlic planted 
in midNovember. (I did manage, finally, to get my own in this year, 
much to my relief; most got in October 26 & 27 and the last of it on 
November 2. The ground was really a little too wet; but I doubted that 
it was going to be any dryer.)

It's really hard to tell, with the erratic weather patterns, when the 
ground is likely to get too cold for root growth. Over the last twenty 
years here, I've seen freeze up any time from late November to well 
into January. Roots will grow in quite cold soil as long as it's not 
hard frozen. I would make sure to mulch it, as poorly rooted garlic is 
otherwise likely to frost heave right out of the ground.

Many years ago I planted a little garlic on the winter solstice (ground 
was not frozen). It survived, and did produce something. It did not 
produce very much (bulbs were small), but I had just started growing 
garlic and had also done a number of other things wrong. Some of the 
smallness of the crop was undoubtedly due to the late planting date; 
but some of it I'm sure was due to other factors.

If you have strains you would have trouble replacing, (so that you're 
worried not only about next year's crop for sale, but about saving your 
planting stock), even spring planted garlic ought to produce something, 
though it's likely to be undersized.

Good luck,

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly (where it's raining yet again, 
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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